Endorsements

‘Sideways’

Interzone, TTA Press, issue 266 (September 2016)

“Ray Cluley’s Sideways is an excellent, affecting story about a 1950s rocket propelled prototype craft that can go sideways. That word is deployed strategically throughout the story to underline its strangeness.” (Jack Deighton, A Son of the Rock)

‘When the Devil’s Driving’

Black Static, TTA Press, issue 47 (July 2015)

“Cluley’s formidable skill at drawing well-rounded, but profoundly damaged characters is out in force in When the Devil’s Driving, painting a thoroughly disturbing and deeply shocking story of a lost cause run riot – someone so far removed from, and philosophically starved by, the norms of society that the most supreme kind of personal destruction feels more like a finish line than something to be afraid of.

Or perhaps, Cluley offers, it’s a starting line. Because when the Devil’s at the wheel, who knows where you’re off to next.” (Gareth Jones, Dread Central)

‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’

From Spectral Press (Sept/Oct 2014)

“I am mightily impressed…a beautifully-realised chilling tale of the frozen, haunted north.”  (Simon Marshall-Jones, Spectral Press)

“Compellingly atmospheric, it draws you into its world of terror with a skill that, in my opinion, puts Cluley up with the best writers of weird fiction we have at the moment.” (Stephen Volk)

“All the best winter tales are as eerie as they are beautiful, as cruel as they are comforting. In ‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’, Ray Cluley has written a hauntingly memorable winter tale about love and loss and longing. And the darkteeth inside all of our souls.” (Carole Johnstone)

“A quiet horror set deep within the isolated icy coast of Greenland where the real horrors are left off the page. ‘Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow’ once again proves just how versatile Cluley is as a writer. Echoing Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, this will continue to play on your mind long after reading.” (Michael Wilson, This Is Horror)

“It’s an incredibly atmospheric tale and that atmosphere is skilfully drawn by the author. The savage beauty of the locations is wonderfully realised and the shivers and chills you’ll experience when reading it will be as much down to the descriptions of just how bloody cold it is as the underlying horrors on display.” (Anthony Watson, full review at Dark Musings)

Within The Wind, Beneath The Snow is tightly written. Cluley’s prose is as stark as his setting, his haunting imagery sparkling like sunlight on ice. Within The Wind, Beneath The Snow is a classic piece of arctic horror to rank alongside Dan Simmons’ The Terror and Michel Paver’s fantastic Dark Matter. A brilliant start for the Theatrum Mundi imprint and another home-run from Cluley.” (James Everington, full review at This is Horror)

‘Turtledove’

A bonus story from Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow, from Spectral Press

“Ray Cluley’s ‘Turtledove’: bittersweet, touching and achingly sad. Quite exceptional.” (James Cooper)

“Excellent story…so sad and emotive” (Bob Lock)

“So, so beautiful.” (Cate Gardner)

“Quality work, expertly paced.” (Alan Morgan)

“…absolutely brilliant! Really powerful stuff.” (Alison Littlewood)

“…an excellent story, sad and sentimental on the surface but actually quite dark at its heart.” (Anthony Watson)

“Ray is the master of the opening line…superb!” (Jim Hawkins)

“At parts sinister and dark, other times depressing and mournful, ‘Turtledove’ walked the line between being quite sad and quite unsettling…Very good and odd opening line.” (Michael Collins)

“‘Turtledove’ is a powerful and tragic Christmas story that ranks up there with the best this talented author has written” (James Everington, This is Horror)

‘Water For Drowning’

This is Horror chapbook (2014)

Nominated for a British Fantasy Award – Best Novella

“Real life and legend collide in Cluley’s haunting tale. By turn tragic and beautiful, the emotions ebb and flow like the tide. Water For Drowning is heartbreaking. It plays on your mind and leaves questions unanswered, as all good horror should. Recommended.” (David Moody)

“An exceptionally worthy read, Water For Drowning will immerse you in a sea of inescapable, personal darkness…” (Dread Central) Full review here.

“A wonderful story of contemporary life meets folklore and fairy tale. The characters are fascinating and the plot beautifully woven – I loved it. Highly recommended!” (Alison Littlewood)

“Ray Cluley has crafted a mesmerising tale of a man and his mermaid… ‘Water For Drowning’ is a finely written story that like the ocean Genna longs to disappear into, gently pulls us in with its ebbs and flows until we realise that we’re in over our heads along with Josh. Cluley is a talent to watch and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he produces in the future.” (Richard Cosgrove, full review here)

“While it’s by no means a lengthy book, I’ve never consumed a piece of written horror this fast since (the admittedly also not lengthy) I am Legend. And I am Legend is my favourite piece of horror writing ever. I’m not overstating myself when I say that Ray Cluley has created something that has almost every bit the captivating, visceral voice of Richard Matheson’s masterpiece. Likewise it gives an imaginative, realistic, dark and disturbing reinvention of a classic monster we thought we knew all too well. ‘Water for Drowning’ is an absolutely vital read for mythical-realism fans, harking back to pre-Disney tales of old, inserting some of grief, pain, and darkness back into the mermaid’s murky waters.” (RJ Bayley, full review here)

“close to perfection… I can only imagine Water For Drowning will win numerous awards” (Livius Nedin and Robb Olson, full podcast review here – both reviewers gave it five star(fish) out of five.)

“With this, Ray Cluley takes us to the water’s edge and holds our faces under until we can see as he does. And it’s beautiful under there. Dark and funny and amazing. And don’t worry that you can’t breathe. Breathing is secondary, when you’ve got writing like this.” (Stephen Graham Jones)

“I loved every harsh, bitter word of it” (Peter Tennant)

“Devoured Ray Cluley’s ‘Water For Drowning’ in one sitting… a fantastic read.” (Laura Mauro)

“Once I started reading I couldn’t stop… Moves deftly from rude and crude to subtle and affecting. An excellent read.” (Steven Dines)

“Beautiful, tragic, funny, and affecting. One of the best pieces I’ve read this year.” (Adam Millard)

“This is a beautifully written piece. From noisy nightclubs to the cold ocean, this story is haunting in both its evocation of place and also the sheer longing that Genna projects. It drew me in straight away… a poignant meld of fairy tale and contemporary drama that washes over you like a swell. Ray Cluley is a thoughtful and sublime storyteller.” (Matthew Fryer, Welcome to the Hellforge – full review here)

‘The Hutch’

Black Static, TTA Press, issue 41 (July 2014)

“This is almost a Robbe-Grillet type anti-novel short story, constructively so… In such a relatively short space, the description of the hutch nevertheless seems slow motion, attritionally so. It is like a Duchamp ready-made – to enclose the ‘step’ relationships of families these days, rent not ownership. Including the final image of womanly ‘confinement’ and the crude ‘hutch’ enclosure. A very effective story where the real action is under the surface, unseen” (Des Lewis, real-time reviews)

‘The Space Between’ (with Ralph Robert Moore)

Shadows & Tall Trees, issue 6 (2014)

“One of my favourite stories in the anthology. The authors do an excellent job displaying the hopelessness and despair of their main character…It’s a chilling look into voyeurism, and how low someone can fall.” (Justine Steele, The Arkham Digest)

“The story that haunts me most even after finishing the book awhile back is ‘The Space Between’ by Ralph Robert Moore and Ray Cluley. I felt as if I had dreamed it, and wondered why I hadn’t, or if I had, in some way, by reading it, making it feel so real. They say successful literary fiction makes changes in our physiology for weeks as we identify vicariously with the protagonists. Our bodies think we lived it. Well, I have that sensation, and am glad for it.” (Tantra Bensko, Goodreads)

“Ralph Robert Moore & Ray Cluley provide the excellent “The Space Between”, a very original tale ” (Mario Guslandi reviewing for the British Fantasy Society)

One of Gordon White’s recommendations as part of his Hellnotes review.

‘Bones of Crow’

Black Static TTA Press, issue 37 (November 2013)

“I first read Ted Hughes in the mid 1960s, I think; I first read Ray Cluley a few years ago, and I have read a lot more since then mainly hatched from the TTA Eyrie. One became poet laureate, the other, I confidently predict, horror laureate, judging by this Max Ernst-William Blake hybridisation for modern times.”  (DF Lewis)

“combined startling and very effective imagery with a nicely ambiguous story” (Anthony Watson)

“Cluley pulls out a number of deftly realised and disturbing images – one, viewed by Maggie from the rooftop on one of her puff breaks, feels straight from Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic, with a general air of fateful fascination akin to that of Q: The Winged Serpent‘s Jimmy Quinn. Bones of Crow is as skilfully written as one would expect from Cluley but plays more within the schlocky B-arena than where one expects its true intentions lie.” (Pestilence, Dread Central)

“Stories that stood out for me: On the severely creepy end of the spectrum…“Bones of Crow” by Ray Cluley… Cluley’s story probably wins for the goriest of the anthology.” (Katherine Nabity, The Writerly Reader)

Selected by Ellen Datlow for the sixth volume of her Best Horror of the Year series.

“Terrifying… certainly not for the squeamish.” (Mario Guslandi, SF Revue)

‘Gator Moon’

Crimewave 12: Hurts (November 2013)

“A memorable, gritty, earth-autonomous racial-tough-love of an escapade” (DF Lewis)

‘The Festering’

Black Static, TTA Press, issue 36 (September 2013)

“‘The Festering’ grabbed me and didn’t let go. Smooth writing and a fresh take on a tired, overused situation. Beautifully done, daring and repulsive. I loved it!”  (Steven Dines)  (Part of Steven J Dines’s recommended reading.)

“’The Festering’ was my favourite story this issue – smoothly executed stuff as ever from Ray Cluley.” (Lawrence Conquest)

“I too would have ‘The Festering’ as top of another strong selection.” (Ross Warren)

“A plain style that conveys a very powerful story, one that may shock some readers…you may wish to give your own next nightmare a miss!”  (DF Lewis) (DF Lewis writes eloquent gestalt ‘real-time’ reviews – you can read the whole thing here.)

“An effective example of quiet horror.”  (Sam Tomaino, SFRevu)

“Easily the darkest and most disturbing entry in this edition of Black StaticThe Festering is unremitting in its desolate outlook on the base functioning of a broken home and the summary effects on the attitude and world view of a barely teenage girl. With the festering of the title being an unsettling representation of hatred, spite and despair made pulsating flesh, Cluley builds to a finale loaded with insidious, low-key malevolence and hopelessness, effective in both a social realist and a genre approach. It’s heavy, challenging and uncompromising stuff, and it’s an excellent piece of work.”  (Pestilence, at www.dreadcentral.com, whole review here.)

Received an Honourable Mention (short list) by Ellen Datlow in Best Horror of the Year, volume six.

‘Other Summers’ (written with Michael Kelly)

At readshortfiction.com

“A wonderful, haunting tale” (Robert Mayette)

‘The Man Who Was’

In Where Thy Dark Eye Glances anthology (July 2013)

“magnificently rendered” (Jerry Wheeler)

‘Whispers in the Mist’

Shadows & Tall Trees, issue 5 (May 2013)

“I love ‘Whispers in the Mist’.  Beautiful work!”  (S.P. Miskowski)

“Atmospheric, witty, eccentric and heartfelt.  A strong piece.”  (Gary Fry)

“As expected, another terrific story.” (Dominik Parisien)

‘Where the Dark is Deepest’

For The Night Is Dark anthology (April 2013)

“Absolutely top work.”  (Jasper Bark)

‘The Death Drive of Rita, nee Carina’

Black Static, TTA Press, issue 32 (January 2013)

“One of the longer stories in this issue, Cluley’s work is also one of the best. Intriguing, involving, and running at a perfect pace, Rita’s methods and behaviour are consistently surprising and devilishly cunning, gradually revealing an antagonist whose story teases sympathy despite her quite obvious, and dangerous, level of insanity.”  (Pestilence, at dreadcentral.com)

“Bleak, harrowing and quite brilliant. For me, this is exactly what modern horror fiction should be: devastatingly human. No vampires, no werewolves, no fucking zombies. Just a brutally traumatised human being failing to cope with a desperate situation. A distressing, but essential, read.”  (James Cooper)

Noted as a favourite of the year by Steven J Dines here.

‘The Rain Deer’

This is Horror website (December 2012)

“a great little tale that does everything right” (Peter Tennant)

‘All Change’

Black Static, TTA Press, issue 30 (August 2012)

“Great story.  Very nicely done.”  (Graham Joyce)

“Robert is so full of literary-inspired delusion I don’t know whether to admire him for having read so much, or be utterly appalled!  Great premise and beautifully executed, as always.  Loved the final paragraph, too.  Most unsettling…”  (James Cooper)

“Top notch.  Personally my favourite of yours since Demons.  I love the homage to some of the old classics.  Really loved it.”  (Steven Blake)

“I have a feeling Mr. Bradbury would have clapped his hands over ‘All Change’.”  (Michael Wehunt)

“You’ve done it again.  As if ‘Shark! Shark!’ wasn’t good enough, I’ve just read ‘All Change’.  The literary references are very clever without weighing the story down.  I read it twice.”  (Priya Sharma)

“After reading this, you will be asking Mr Cluley to go and write a prequel to this highly entertaining story.  I think this is the third of Ray’s stories that I have read, and he is fast becoming one of those authors whose whole catalogue I need to track down.”  (Jim Mcleod)

“An odd, clever story…elements of the history of the horror genre are woven throughout the piece…among them some very effective and creepy visuals.”  (Colleen Chen, Tangent)

‘Shark! Shark!’

Black Static, TTA Press, issue 29 (July 2012)

This story won the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, 2013.

“Ray Cluley really stole the show…this story, fast-paced and funny, laced with in-jokes and told in an endearing conversational style, made a refreshing change.” (Jason Whittle, Dark Minds Press forum)

“Just read ‘Shark! Shark!’ – nothing short of brilliant!  This is just the kind of story I enjoy reading. Loved the self-referential, film-referential style which was pitched perfectly – could have fallen on its face but didn’t.  The audacity to end the story with “Fin” summed up the playfulness for me and made me want to punch the air in triumph!  My favourite story of the year.” (Andrew Hook, highlights from comments on the TTA Forum and personal correspondence)

“Mr Cluley [takes] the story honours this time round. He really is a great whiter – sorry, writer…” (Anthony Watson, TTA Forum)

“A hilarious, jaws-breaking laugh a line with blood splattered intentional fallacies….Just read it. Remarkable.” (D.F. Lewis, Real Time Review at http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/black-static-29/)

“Complete awesome awesomeness!”  (Alison Littlewood)

“A brilliant piece of metafiction” (Terry Weyna, fantasyliterature.com)

“A gory, sexy and self-referential novelette, a witty meta-narrative.  Cluley has a helluva lot of fun kicking down the fourth wall in this story-within-a-story.”  (April Snellings, rue-morgue.com)

“clever and darkly humorous” (Matthew Fryer, Welcome to the Hellforge)

“You’re a funny guy.  Just read ‘Shark! Shark!’ – what a weird idea.  I like it.”  (Ellen Datlow, who also recommended it for a Bram Stoker Award)

“reminiscent of the old EC horror comic stories and just as entertaining” (Richard Cosgrove)

‘Afterword’

After Death… anthology (April 2013)

“Great story – I enjoyed it immensely!  Your writing is pitch-perfect and the ending is fantastic…you really created something that is witty, imaginative, and satisfying.” (Eric Guignard)

“Delightfully original” (David Brzeski, British Fantasy Society)

A positive review by Karissa B. Sluss in Tales of the Talisman Volume 9, Issue 1, noted this story as a personal favourite.

(This anthology won the Bram Stoker Award in 2014)

‘Night Fishing’

Shadows and Tall Trees, issue 3

“One of the best short stories I have ever read.  Not just horror short stories, any kind of short story.  Its construct is perfect, the writing superb and it handles the (big) themes it deals with marvellously.  I had goose bumps when I finished reading ‘Night Fishing’ I was so moved by it… It’s an outstanding piece of writing and an example of what great writing can do.” (Anthony Watson)

“It left such a strong impression that I sat there, mulling it over for several minutes, and decided to reread it. In the end, I decided not to read anything else that night, so I could keep thinking about the story. There’s a superb subtlety to the setting and the characterization, along with much else that I truly loved…Frankly, I’m hoping it gets some Year’s Best recognition.”  (Dominik Parisien)

“Wow! What a superb story. Without exaggeration, I hope it makes a Best Of book next year. It’s a stunning piece of writing” (Stephen Bacon)

This story is one of Peter Tennant’s favourites of 2012. http://trumpetville.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/petes-favourite-horror-stories-of-2012-part-two/

“hauntingly sad…Cluley’s emotionally demanding story beautifully explores grief, love and ultimately futile efforts to save the dead”  (Kirkus Review)

“Cluley’s prose is so evocative, I nearly fetched a blanket against the chill of the bay—all the way in Denver.” (Jerry Wheeler, Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews)

‘Bloodcloth’

Published May 2012 (Interzone, issue 240)

“Dark fantasy, a strongly disturbing image of a community (world?) enthralled…The bloodcloth might serve as a metaphor for all sorts of life-draining situations, but it’s memorable enough on its own.  Recommended.”  (Lois Tilton, Locus Online Reviews)

“Disturbingly macabre horror” (Mark Watson, Best SF)

“There have been too many vampire stories to count over the years, but this may well be the first to feature a vampire curtain…It’s nice to have a little horror in Interzone.” (Steve Rogerson, Suite 101)

“Ray Cluley’s ‘Bloodcloth’ takes place in an interesting universe – Germinal meets Hellraiser, if you will. The story’s horrific aspects are really well managed – though I’d like to know more about the cloth!” (Jérôme Cigut, ciguties)

“an interesting look at a culture coping with fear and finding a way to work with a horrifying situation” (Sam Tomaino, SFRevu)

“Ray’s ‘Bloodcloth’ is going to give me nightmares…” (Alison Littlewood)

“‘Bloodcloth’ was excellent. Its perspective was nicely limited, very poignant. I enjoyed that we never received an omniscient explanation of the terrible cloth.” (Bryan Alexander, StarShipSofa comments)

‘Waste Disposal’

In Darker Minds anthology (July 2012).

“Holy shit… you need to read this.”  (Dominik Parisien)

“It takes a fair amount of skill for an author to keep a story of this nature from becoming a silly parody.  Luckily Cluley manages to keep this story on the right side of the track…a fun story that has just the right amount of pathos at its heart.”  (Jim Mcleod, Ginger Nuts of Horror)

“For me, two neighbouring pieces form the anthology’s peak.  First is ‘The Man Who Remembered’ by Stephen Bacon…Second, I also loved ‘Waste Disposal’ by Ray Cluley.  It begins with a melancholy yet stoical flavour, but soon descends into unease, and then sickly fear.  Natural empathy, pathos and a masterful ratcheting up of the threat make this a very immersive experience, and I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the wild and grossly imaginative – or is that imaginatively gross – finale.”  (Matthew Fryer, The Hellforge)

“The best story ever written about a golem made of shit.”  (Anthony Watson) (perhaps the only story, but I’m taking it anyway)

“Ray Cluley also touches on the theme of vengeful revenants with ‘Waste Disposal’, as a grieving widower is assaulted by some young thugs in a rundown public toilets, but Cluley gives it a Rabelaisian spin and writes about geysers of excrement with such unabashed gusto that the story rises above the material and becomes a master class in this sort of thing.  It’s a definite highlight of the anthology.”  (Peter Tennant)

“It [sticks] in the memory… merging a wild concept with heart” (Matthew Fryer, Welcome to the Hellforge)

‘Fata Morgana’

Published January 2012 (Interzone issue 238)

“The standout story in Interzone #238 was Ray Cluley’s ‘Fata Morgana’, a long piece that went to a great effort of detail to build up a convincing portrait of living in a flooded Earth.  It’s be a shame if such a thorough piece of world-building were not used again.  I for one would love to see this story expanded to novel length.” (Neil Williamson, February Reads, neilwilliamson.wordpress.com)

“I love this – I think it’s the best thing you’ve done… thanks for another superb story!” (Andy Cox, TTA Press)

“Wonderful story – evocative, sad, delicate, beautifully written.  I really liked the way it creates its crumbling world and keeps its narrative pace under control throughout.” (Jim Hawkins)

“Excellent fantasy from Cluley, with a setting that convinces…Cluley creates a vivid setting with some great imagery and detail, and provides a story that demands a sequel.” (Mark Watson, Best SF)

“nitty-gritty poignancy as well as sublimely soaring grandeur…a genuine originality of conception…a perfectly blended ‘genius loci’…An important SF work for future assessment as to its greatness.” (Highlights from DF Lewis, http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/interzone-238/)

“Brilliant stuff…a rich piece, and very moving” (Michael Kelly, Undertow Books)

“Excellent long story about a cross class love affair…The central characters are deeply believable, and the class dynamics are convincing as well.  Interesting world, on top.” (londonkds.dreamwidth.org)

Used by Nick Tramdack as a good example of worldbuilding. You can read the whole piece here.

‘I Have Heard the Mermaids Singing’

Published December 2011 (Black Static, issue 26)

“absolutely superb” (Andy Cox, TTA Press)

“A substantive story that the reader needs to dive deep within and not re-emerge too quickly – for best effect…As well as the evocatively personal-internal, I truly relished this filmic Nicaraguan ‘genius loci’ and brilliant cast…coming together here as an accreting analogy or metaphor that one truly can see on the big screen of one’s mind [a] genuinely classic story that will no doubt be anthologised several times again” (DF Lewis) (His reviews are great reads, so if you fancy the whole thing, go here http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/black-static-26/)

“Another great selection of stories, tough to pick a favourite but gun to head I’d go with Ray Cluley’s ‘I Have Heard The Mermaids Singing’; someone really should put out his collection.” (Ross Warren)

“a rich, unique, haunting piece” (Nick Cato, The Horror Fiction Review)

This story was recommended for a British Fantasy Award.

‘The Travellers Stay’

Published October 2011 (Black Static, issue 25)

“This fiction gestalt is a darkness of words…a very disturbing Motel story that has a feel of the seedy Wild West but is probably just round the corner from where each of us readers lives.”  (DF Lewis)

“Excellent”  (Alison Littlewood)

“Yet another outstanding issue.  The Ray Cluley story was my fave of the fiction; a motel so seedy I felt like washing my hands after reading it!” (Ross Warren, Dark Minds Press)

“The cockroach hotel was real yuk!  I imagine that is what was intended.” (Paul Woodward, TTA Forum)

“Your story has ensured that I will hightail it out of any hotel at the first sign of a cockroach. Good creepy stuff!” (Barbara A. Barnett)

“an excellent story…your style reminds me of some of the writers from the 1980s (Lansdale, et. al) in that it’s straight ahead and realistic with just the slightest, tasteful, filigree on the edges to cut the grittiness (I especially liked the characterization of the female motel owner – really well-handled and restrained with an excellent “ear” for character voice)…the slow build and then sudden acceleration was really used exceedingly well here – lots of writers try for this “sudden intrusion of the unreal” but very few pull it off.” (Shawn Garrett, Pseudopod)

“This one wasn’t subtle but it sure was effective.” (Sam Tomaino)

‘Tabula Rasa’

Published October 2011 (Not One of Us, issue 46)

“quality work”  (Michael Ray, editor Redstone SF)

‘Tethered to the Cold and Dying’

Published March 2011 (Interzone 233)

“I’ve only been a subscriber to Interzone for four issues but this has been the best story so far in the issues I have read.”  (Ross Warren, TTA Forum)

“the most bleak scenario and hopeless scenario in the issue”  (Lois Tilton, Locus Online) (which I’ll take as a compliment)

“…dark enough for his regular haunt [Black Static]…where ‘Tethered to the Cold and Dying’ really delivers is in Cluley’s characterization, which is very, very good, and the stark tone that suffuses the story…certainly deserves consideration as one of this year’s better SF stories.  Highly recommended.” (Colin Harvey)

“There’s some nice dialogue in this one and the atmosphere is great” (Tomas L. Martin, sfcrowsnest.com)

“Characters were great in this one, the dialogue tight and skilled in revealing personalities without needing there to be much said.  I particularly liked the descriptions of the space elevator.” (David Conyers, Albedo One)

Selected by Rich Horton as one of the “best short stories” in 2011’s issues of Interzone.

Received an Honourable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writer’s of the Future contest.

‘Pins and Needles’

Published February 2011 (Black Static 21)

“Superb…a great story.” (Andy Cox, editor of Black Static)

“Ray Cluley delivers yet another fantastic piece titled ‘Pins and Needles’.  He has established himself as one of the best authors to appear in this magazine.”  (Nick Cato, The Horror Fiction Review)

“Really enjoyed the Cluley story and its closing image will live long in the memory.” (Ross Warren, TTA Forum)

“Read Pins and Needles the other night – loved it. My favourite of the issue” (Alison Littlewood, writer)

“when the ending comes it’s both laugh-out-loud funny and poignant, which may be a first.  Outstanding.”  (Colin Harvey)

“For me, ‘Pins and Needles’ was far and away the best story of the issue, with a both touching and disturbing portrait – believable and creepy.” (Ilan Lerman, TTA Forum)

“this story stands head and shoulders… The ziggy images of rocketry and pricking and the sheer flow of the narration like some classic of ‘youth’ that might have been written in some alternate world where every writer always wrote something like Catcher in the Rye or Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man… [And this story has one sex scene that really works.  Few sex scenes work.]” (DF Lewis, writer, editor of Nemonymous)

“‘Pins and Needles’ was the undoubted highlight of the issue for me.  A truly horrifying and vivid character study that somehow slid smoothly into a very funny finale without missing a beat.  Brilliant.” (Lawrence Conquest, TTA Forum)

“Pins and Needles was my favourite of the issue and one of my favourite stories from the last few issues – really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading it again in a day or two.”  (richdodgin, TTA Forum)

“a chilling look at a different kind of madness”  (Sam Tomaino, SFRevu)

This story was recommended for a British Fantasy Award.

‘At Night, When The Demons Come’

Published December 2010 (Black Static 20)

“Wow, this is something else.” (Andy Cox, editor of Interzone and  Black Static)

“I loved the story…great graphic material” (Darren Winter, illustrator of Interzone and Black Static)

“Great writing – just great!” (Eric Guignard)

“This story is very powerful, apocalyptic…complementary to as well as ‘containing’ the fiction cacophonies and adagios that preceded it… “We did what we had to when we saw what was coming out” You see, only words can convey horror.  Visuals – even with, or despite, today’s CGI effects – are certainly not in the same game.” (DF Lewis, writer, editor of Nemonymous)

“another rollicking story bookending the magazine with the Pinborough/Meloy.  Superbly realised characters with interesting moral dilemmas.” (Andrew Hook – claimed this, with the Pinborough/Meloy story, “warranted the cover price alone”)

“a terrific story” (Ellen Datlow, Night Shade Books – selected it for Best Horror of the Year volume 3)

“Man, that was dark.  But good.” (Michael Kelly, Undertow Books)

“mixes horror with SF, and does it very, very well…The ending is surprising, saddening and moving.  ‘At Night, When the Demons Come’ is one of the year’s best stories, eclipsing even his ‘Beachcombing’ in the previous issue.” (Colin Harvey, suite101.com)

“Cluley’s end of the world is much more cinematic, violent and action-oriented. It’s got monsters, boobies, gunplay, gore and tornadoes, and it rivals [Norman] Partridge’s entry as the most propulsive, thrilling story in the anthology.”  (Jonathan Briggs, reviewing The Best Horror of the Year volume 3 on Amazon)

“A terrific story” (Alison Littlewood)

“Cluley writes the action scenes with real verve, the fight with the demons eventful and bloody, with graphic scenes of gore that the quiet and reflective ‘Beachcombing’ won’t have led the reader to expect, but never gratuitous. He is also superb at drawing his dramatis persona, each given distinguishing characteristics, shown either in their actions or by a few words that capture perfectly the essentials of who they are….” (Peter Tennant) For Peter Tennant’s full review, go to http://trumpetville.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/at-night-when-the-demons-come-by-ray-cluley/

‘Beachcombing’

Published November 2011 (Black Static 19)

“Very good indeed…a wonderful story” (Andy Cox, editor of Interzone and Black Static)

“It’s one of the best stories of the year, both in Black Static or any magazine.” (Colin Harvey, suite101.com)

“Colin Harvey is spot on about Ray Cluley’s ‘Beachcombing’.  It’s deeply affecting, a story I know I will go back and re-read.  It’s beautiful, mysterious and elegiac.  Looking forward very much to the appearance of his next story.  Ray’s set the bar incredibly high.  I’m envious as hell…” (James Cooper, author of You Are The Fly and The Beautiful Red)

“I’ve just read Beachcombing, which I found subtle, imaginative and very affecting. At the end I found myself wanting to read more about Tommy and the kind of life he’d have as he grows up.” (Rosanne Rabinowitz, author of Noise Leads Me)

“A fascinating look into the mind of a boy who seems to be simple-minded, but sees things no one else sees” (Sam Tomaino, SFRevu)

“I was impressed with the vague one sentence asides of something deeper happening to the man on the beach.” (Paul Woodward, TTA Forum)

“I particularly enjoyed Simon Clark and Ray Cluley’s stories this issue – completely different styles but both very well done.” (Lawrence Conquest, TTA Forum)

“Beautifully described.  Plainsong prose… Its own treasure that passive or active readers alike will keep forever after first discovering it.” (DF Lewis, writer, editor of Nemonymous)

“Ultra-haunting” (Nick Cato, The Horror Fiction Review)

“Particularly worth checking out…a brilliantly evocative and deeply affecting commentary upon our condition as isolated islands of subjectivity.  Just when you think that this story cannot get any better, Cluley reaches down and finds that top gear…  Powerful and yet exquisitely low-key.” (Jonathan McCalmont, SF Signal) (he awarded the story five out of five stars)

“Profoundly moving and expertly done”  (Michael Kelly, Undertow Books, editor of Shadows and Tall Trees)

“A gorgeous story” (Cate Gardner, author of Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits, and Theatre of Curious Acts, Skull Salad Reviews)

“very effective”  (Paul Campbell, BFS Forum)

“subtlety, a depth of feeling, believable characters…the delivery was note perfect and pulled at the heart.  Great stuff!”  (Andrew Hook)

“I was really touched by your story, truth be told I teared up the first time I read it.”  (Lisa Wilde, (wonderful) artist for the audio version at Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine)

“It is definitely one of our best stories…perhaps of all time. It moved me in a way that no other story we’ve run has.” (Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine)

“Beautifully characterised…movingly written” (Peter Tennant)For Peter Tennant’s full insightful review, click here.

‘3D Porn’

Published in Indecent Proposals from Xcite Press, 2011, and again in Sexy Situations, from Xcite.

“I’ll be honest — of the three stories in this collection, I only really liked the second one, Ray Cluley’s “3D Porn,” a fun story about a guy who fantasizes about his flatmate’s girlfriend and gets to have a little adventure with her. There was something about its easy and masculine tone which spoke to me, and it was pretty hot too. It was the first Cluley story I’ve read and I suspect it won’t be the last.” (Elaine, Amazon review of Sexy Situations, a ‘taster’ collection from Xcite Press)
[*note it will be the last Ray Cluley when it comes to erotica as I use a different name for that stuff now…]

‘Dracula’s New Dress’

An October 2010 publication (Fem-Fangs)

“A sublime story!” (Terrie Leigh Relf, editor of HUNGUR)

Noted as a particular favourite which “managed to humanize the Brides of Dracula (!) withOUT making them any bit less monstrous and cruel” (Moczo, Amazon review)

‘Here I Am’

Published October 2010 (The Daily Flash – 365 Days of Flash Fiction)

“Got that uncomfortable feeling as I got near the end.  Loved it!” (gileadslostson, TTA Forum)

“Excellent…really creeped me out” (Matthew S Dent, TTA Forum)

‘Viva Las Vegas’

This was my first ever publication (Black Static 6)

“I love it!  Great comic timing.” (Andy Cox, editor of Interzone and Black Static)

“May prompt the more faint-hearted reader to check under the bed before going to sleep… Despite the subject matter, the tone is distinctly light hearted.  A fun and enjoyable final story for this issue, as well as an impressive debut by Cluley.” (The Fix)

“The wham-bam pulpy style of Ray Cluley’s ‘Viva Las Vegas’ comes as a refreshing change…a brash, bold and effective little horror story” (Lawrence Conquest, The Barking Dog)

“Darkly humorous” (Sam Tomaino, SFRevu)

“Packs a good dollop of B movie charm” (Tomas Martin, SFcrowsnest.com)

“Proof that no trope is too tired to have life injected from a vigorous plot line and strong characterization…a writer to watch.” (Colin Harvey, suite101.com)

Honourable Mention for Best Horror of the Year (longlist) (Ellen Datlow, Night Shade Books)

Wins and things:

British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, 2013

Ron Hubbard’sWriters of the Future Contest, 3rd Quarter 2010: Honourable Mention

‘Science fiction’ theme competition for txtlit.co.uk, November 2009: Winner.

‘The plot’ theme competition for txtlit.co.uk, October 2009: Runner up

‘The waiting room’ theme competition for txtlit.co.uk, September 2009: Runner up

‘Ghost story’ theme competition for txtlit.co.uk, July 2009: Runner up

Open theme competition for txtlit.co.uk, May 2009: Runner up

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2 Responses to Endorsements

  1. Hey Ray, love this idea of keeping all the praise in one place. (Think I might steal it for myself..lol)

    Oh, and “At Night, When The Demons Come” blew me away, fantastic story! Definitely my favourite of all your stories I’ve read so far.

    • Ray Cluley says:

      Thanks Darren – I’ll admit, it’s a weakness needing to have such a page in the first place, something to read when I need a boost, but it helps! Feel free to steal the idea, by all means.

      And I’m glad you liked ‘At Night, When the Demons Come’ – it’s been a popular story, that one, and was great fun to write.

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